Verizon has acquired Intel’s television business.
Wait, Intel had a television business?
Indeed it did: the Intel Media division worked on “Cloud TV” products and services. Verizon (which purchased the assets for an undisclosed sum, and expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2014) will use Intel’s work to strengthen its next-generation video services, including those delivered via Verizon’s FiOS fiber-optic network.
“Verizon already has extensive video content relationships, fixed and wireless delivery networks, and customer relationships in both the home and on mobile,” Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon, wrote in a statement. “This transaction provides us with the capabilities to build a powerful, capitally efficient engine for future growth and innovation.”
Verizon’s press release also hints that the carrier will use Intel’s assets to create a dashboard of some sort for easier search and interactivity, as well as boost the ability to play content on multiple screens. Nor is Intel Media the first acquisition Verizon’s made in the video-delivery space: in late 2013, it purchased EdgeCast (which specializes in content-delivery networks) and upLynk (which streamlines uploading and encoding video). Clearly an effort to build out a network is afoot.
Such strengthening is also necessary: as more content providers stream content—Netflix already takes up a significant portion of U.S. bandwidth every day—the carriers and broadband providers that maintain the underlying networks will need to upgrade their technology in order to handle that burgeoning load.
The situation gets a little more complicated when one considers the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that partially negated the FCC’s Open Internet Order. That represented a hard blow against net neutrality, or the idea that all traffic on the Internet is created equal. In theory, Verizon and other broadband providers now have more leeway to block or slow down Web properties for competitive reasons, or charge certain companies more for delivering content over their networks. Verizon bulking out its video capabilities would give it more options in potentially charging certain companies for access, speed, or features; but even if the company doesn’t go down that route, it’s likely that Intel’s assets will end up integrated into Verizon’s services.
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